The Perseverance rover was unable to collect soil samples from Mars due to the fact that it is very crumbly and powdery.

On Friday, August 6, 2021, the Perseverance rover transmitted data to Earth, according to which it drilled an 8 cm well on Mars to collect soil, but the sample tube was empty. The rover was unable to collect soil samples from the planet on its first attempt.

NASA believes the samples failed due to the unusually soft Martian rock. The engineers determined that the rock was not strong enough to obtain a core sample, or that small powdery fragments remained in the well, or both happened.

The rover is now heading to the next sampling site, looking for signs of ancient Martian life. He should be there by early next month.

Images taken by the rover and its satellite helicopter show that sediment there should be much better for sampling, said Louise Jandura, chief engineer at Perseverance’s sampling campaign.

This is not the first time that a Martian vehicle has encountered soil problems. Earlier, the German excavator from the InSight apparatus could not bury more than a couple of tens of centimeters. The lumpy soil does not provide enough friction for the heat sensing device, so the experiment failed.